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Women Work Wonders – Lagos, Nigeria

"Women Work Wonders will serve as a platform to bridge gaps in employment, skilling, and counseling for women who have remained un(der) employed and need strong professional support and awareness to begin or resume their careers or start-up, and be financially independent", shares Melton Fellow Ranjini Rao on her cross-geo project aimed at transforming the lives of women in Nigeria, and India.

“I quit my job as a cashier at a bank a decade ago. The quickly changing dynamics of the workspace and a huge career break leaves me with no confidence that I can earn for myself and be financially independent.”, casually said a 40 year old woman in India.

Agbado” is a community in the Ifo Local Government of Ogun State, Nigeria. directly sharing a boundary with Ifako- Ijaye Lagos Nigeria. This long-aged community is bound by other smaller communities sharing the untarred vehicular road. COVID -19 pandemic has continued to take a massive toll on the economy of the country and this effect is evident in our towns and cities. “currently four in every ten Nigerians who were working before the outbreak of coronavirus have lost their jobs”(Premium Times News Nigeria). Also on the 12th of June 2020, the Nigeria Economic Sustainable Planning Committee warns that 39.4 million Citizens, which mostly include women in the working-age, might be unemployed by the end of the year 2020 if preemptive measures are not taken.

Effects of a healthcare crisis such as the COVID-19 have brought to fore a glaring setback to decades of progress made in women’s development and calls for a fundamental change in professional and personal support extended to women, especially to those belonging to low and middle-income groups.

A team of 5 members including Senior Fellows from India, Ranjini Rao HS and Vijay Viswanathan and public health educator from Lagos Nigeria, Margaret Afolake, prototyped a possible solution for the problem statement
‘Why shouldn’t the services of a professional networking platform such as Linkedin be extended to women from low and middle-income groups through the establishment of physical spaces?’, during the Global Virtual Ideathon 2020.

The team was chosen as the winner of the Melton Foundation’s Global Citizenship Virtual Ideathon in early 2020, post which Ranjini and Margaret, under the guidance of Vijay have been working towards implementation of phase 1 of the project in the Agbado community of Lagos, Nigeria. As part of this project, 10 women participants have been selected for the program and provided mental health counseling by two social workers and professional mentoring by 4 mentors to upskill and build confidence to chart their own career paths in either self or wage employment.

  • The project team aims at creating a robust local network of mentors, trainers, counselors, and women who wish to start, resume, or provide career opportunities to others.
  • It aims at creating a wide community of women in the low and middle-income groups who will receive support every step of the way to meet their predefined employment and financial goals.

The components of the project being:

  • Choose a middle-income group of women in suburban and rural areas (either personally, through the network, references or majorly through tie-ups with local NGOs) and onboard them into our network.
  • Perform skill and aspiration analysis, map each woman with a career coach.
  • Form local communities and establish physical spaces for women to regularly meet and connect with others and serve as a hub for those who do not have access to a steady internet.
  • Create awareness of various avenues of funding, government initiatives and schemes, women’s rights, and financing options.
  • Ensure basic digital and financial literacy.
  • These women then move on to become level-1 enablers and not only continue to receive support but also become an enabler themselves and onboard more women into the network.
  • While the communities within a region multiply, a bigger community across villages, urban centers in various pockets of the country are linked by an online component. This brings in a strong element of choice of employer, location of employment, and cross-learning.

From the organizers

For our initial implementation, we plan on creating a framework for the execution of the program not only in Lagos but in other pockets of the world. Over the course of the project implementation, we hope to involve certified women of phase 1, to guide future participants through the initial stage of their careers. We request you to please support our endeavor to build a more equitable tomorrow by donating here.

How can you support them?

The project requires financial resources, mentors, and counselors who can support the 10 chosen women and inspire more to come forward and ask for the help they so deserve.

At the Melton Foundation, we are committed to best serving the needs of the project and have pledged a grant amount to that effect. We now request you to help with what you can, as every donation counts!

Women Work Wonders is now a reality! 

The latest update on fundraising from the team is 6004 USD, raised from 55 donors in a time frame of two weeks! You can be part of the movement and continue to help make this project a reality. You can find more details about the project here! Click the button below to make a donation.
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Are you keen on learning more about the project progress and the Project Sustainability Initiatives? Visit here